service

Do You Know Why Your Customers Choose You?

customer-loyalty-mj-experiaWith more and more competing services spreading around the world, it is becoming easier to create look-alike companies and services. And yet, standing out from the crowd is one of the most important requirements of any company. Being different gives customers a good reason to choose your company over one of the many lookalikes.

There are many ways to be different. Offering a unique and better service is a good place to start. However, adding layers of innovative services or developing a brand with special attributes can also make you look and feel different.

One of the most important roles that market research can play is to find out what your potential audience wants and needs, and use these findings to help differentiate your company or service offering.

With almost two decades of market research expertise, I have outlined below a few compelling reasons as to why you should survey your customers. As for the process of creating the survey, how the survey is conducted, and what methods can be used to follow up, I’ll leave those for another blog later in the month!

Customer Loyalty: Understand the magic – what they like about you and what they dislike. Knowing what keeps them coming back over and over again is the secret to your success. Loyalty is the magic when they start talking about you and referring you to others.

Customer Satisfaction: Satisfied customers are those who do not have outstanding negative issues concerning you on their mind. This doesn’t mean everything has always been perfect. Sometimes things may not have gone all right. In all such situations you gave your customers a chance to talk to you. Sympathetic listening to customers is essential. An online survey, or better yet, a personal phone call from a third party, provide an excellent way for your customers to have a chance to get their side of the story out without being interrupted. A second essential is follow-through. Proper tools of analysis will help you segment your customers into different categories based on what you need to do in return. Then show them you “heard” them and are putting their words into action.

Effective Communication: By inviting customers to talk to you through careful design of your survey or asking key questions in a telephone conversation can effectively inform your customers about things they may not know or remind them of important changes or innovations in your organization. This is clever because customers will take your survey more seriously than most other communication you send them.

Spotting Trends: Beyond understanding the drivers behind loyalty and satisfaction of your customers, you can benefit from the wisdom of the masses by asking them for their ideas and spotting patterns in their feedback. Spotting such trends ahead of competition could offer you a significant advantage.

Think about your own loyalty as a customer and why you choose certain brands or companies to work with – heck, knowing what your customers value is what’s behind those great beer commercials who put their customer in their brand experience! Listen to your customers; let them show you what they value and once you act on their input, enjoy watching your business grow!

When was the last time you conducted a customer survey? Did you send out an online survey or did you call your customers? Did you follow up on the customer feedback and if so, how? Do you feel you did a professional job or do you think you should have hired a marketing firm to conduct it for you?

Why is Marketing one of the Least Respected Business Disciplines?

persuasionMany business owners consider marketing to be a necessary evil, you know you need to do it, but you’re not exactly sure why or what you need to do.  Marketing is an indefinable grey area covering the various activities you might do between producing a product, offering a service and selling it.

Although online marketing has helped to improve this, it’s often hard to directly attribute revenue to marketing, it’s always been one of the least-respected business disciplines — poorly measured activities that are deemed “not necessary” and are the first to be cut when times get tough.

I like to think of marketing as all the steps that lead up to the sales conversation — whether it’s market research, branding, pricing and distribution, packaging and promotion, market segmentation or advertising.  All of these disciplines help to bridge the gap between the product/service and the customers who either buy them or ought to.

Simply stated, marketing is everything you do to place your product or service in the hands of potential customers.

You might think of marketing this way: If business is all about people and money and the art of persuading one to part from the other, then marketing is all about finding the right people to persuade.

No matter how terrific or unique you company is, people (consumers) don’t just “buy” a product/service.  It is not happenstance that they want to buy YOUR product or service. They “buy” the concept of what that product/service will do for them, or help them do for themselves.  For example people who are overweight don’t join a franchise diet centre to eat pre-packaged micro-meals.  They “buy” the concept of a new, thin, happy and successful self.

People have their own unique perceptions of the world based on their belief system.  The most innovative ideas, the greatest products, or a superior service succeed only when you market within the context of people’s perceptions. Once you understand and accept this premise, you are ready to start marketing your brand to your audience.

I leave you with the immortal words of Aretha Franklin, “All I’m askin’ (oo)
is for a little respect…”

Do you feel you have a good understanding of what role your marketing plays in your company?  Do you feel your marketing should increase your sales or that your marketing should you’re your audience to the sales conversation? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.